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Location: Western Bulgaria
Time Zone: GMT (UTC+2)
Driving Side: Right Side
Sofia is the capital, and the largest city, of Bulgaria. It is located at the foot of Mount Vitosha, which makes it a spectacular travel destination, especially for people with a Eu rail pass. One can have a mixed experience of melancholy in the ancient ruins and museums, piety in the religious churches, exhilaration while climbing the breathtaking mountain and pleasure while partying at the Bulgarian restaurants and pubs.
History of Sofia
The original settlers of Sofia, the Thracian, called the place ‘Serdica’, named after the Serdi tribe who camped in the area. In 500 BC, the Odrysi tribe joined the Serdi tribe. After many years, Alexander the Great conquered the city. When the Romans conquered the city in 29 AD, they named it Ulpia Serdica. Eventually, it became a modern settlement which lured Constantine to call it “my Rome”. The city was seized by many empires, from the Huns, to the Byzantine, to the Ottoman. The name Sofia was used in 1376 after the city’s church. In 1908, Sofia was made capital by the Kingdom of Bulgaria. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, Sofia moved to become an economically independent and modern city.
Things To Do In Sofia
Sofia is rich in historical architectural buildings, which are also considered religious locations. One, which is voted as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is the 900-year old Boyana Church located near Mt. Vitosha. It is also where the National Museum is located, so every traveler must visit this site. Another must-see site is the Alexander Nevski Church, a memorial for the 200,000 Russian soldiers who fought during the Russo-Turkish Liberation War. Tsentralna Sofiyska Sinagoga, Sveti Georgi and Tsarkva Sveta Nikolai are other churches worth visiting, too. For those up to the challenge, Vitosha Mountain offers hiking and skiing activities. Sofia
Tourist Attractions Mount Vitosha Known for its world-class skiing, Mount Vitosha is one of the symbols of Sofia and the most visited mountain in Bulgaria. A short drive or lift trip away, this hotspot is open round the year and is extremely popular for skiing, snowboarding and hiking. The ‘stone rivers’ or moraines, piles of huge rounded granite boulders and mineral springs are just a few of the breathtaking views. The national park, the oldest in the Balkans, situated on the foothills is home to wolves, foxes, martens, deer, bears, wild boars and several other plant and bird species. To learn the culture and history of Bulgaria, there is the Statue of Tsar Nikolaj, Kambanite, Orlov Most, Institute of Archaeology with Museum, National Museum of History, Ivan Vazov National Theater and the National Palace of Culture Congress Center.
Vitosha Boulevard – Sofia’s main commercial street situated in the heart of the city, Vitosha Boulevard is home to some of the high-end fashion labels from across the globe. Versace, Escada, Bulgari, D&G, Lacoste, Ermenegildo Zegna, Max Mara, Emporio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger and Boss are a few brands to name apart from the numerous other designer brands that rest on this most-happening place of Sofia. Named after Mount Vitosha, this shopping street has posh stores, restaurants and bars in abundance.